A wary Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told fellow Republicans this week his home state may no longer be the consistent conservative stronghold it once was in the upcoming 2020 presidential election cycle.
Cruz said Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that the state has quickly turned into a “hotly contested” question mark, according to Politico.
President Donald Trump and fellow Republican Sen. John Cornyn will face a “serious race” in the Lone Star state to be re-elected, Cruz added.
He believes they could learn something by taking a closer look at his close victory over Democratic challenger former Rep. Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 midterm elections.
“I think the Texas election in 2018 is powerful foreshadowing for what to expect across the country in 2020,” Cruz said. “The Democrats in Texas increased their turnout more than 100 percent.”
Coming off a massive national bid for the Republican nomination in 2016, Cruz boasted tremendous name recognition going into 2018. And he took a commanding lead over his lesser-known opponent, a former Democratic representative.
But O’Rourke soon became a household name himself and a Republican lead that was sometimes shown to be as wide as 10 percentage points quickly shrank, according to RealClearPolitics data.
Cruz would go on to win in November by a little more than 2 percent of the vote.
So if the 2018 midterms are a valid predictor of what is to come, Cruz told event attendees Thursday, there could be a dangerous shift in voting demographics nationwide — particularly with new generations of progressives eager to donate and vote.
The only question then is whether the Democrats will adjust their strategy to pick up votes in states they may not have pulled for in previous years.
According to Cruz, their broad new base coupled with an overwhelming Democratic drive to remove Trump from office may generate a perfect storm scenario for Democrats to improve on their 2018 gains.
And to disastrous effect.
“The far left is pissed off, they hate the president and that is a powerful motivator,” Cruz said, according to the National Review. “If the left shows up in massive numbers and everybody else doesn’t that’s how we end up with an incredibly damaging election.”
“If we lose Texas, it’s game over,” he added.
Many analysts say O’Rourke’s impressive 2018 challenge was created in large part by the monetary power of progressive elites donating from out of state.
According to Politico, O’Rourke outspent Cruz by a “3 to 1” margin in what would go on to be the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history.
Cruz expressed similar sentiments Thursday, arguing that Republicans would still pull out victories in the state if they could mitigate the damage done by progressives with that level of funding and star power by making an honest appeal to the values of grassroots conservatives.
“I don’t believe Texas will turn blue,” Cruz said, “but central to that is we’re going to have to work to communicate and turn people out.”
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